A regional council Wednesday approved a new power plan for four Northwest states that will place a big emphasis on energy efficiency to meet new electrical demand.

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A regional council Wednesday approved a new power plan for four Northwest states that will place a big emphasis on energy efficiency to meet new electrical demand.

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council, which draws members from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana, found that even with a growing economy, increased energy efficiency could meet all of the power demand expected through 2035.

However, some utilities could have to build new power-generation plants to help with such tasks as integrating wind power into the grid.

“By investing in energy efficiency at the levels recommended in the plan, we’ll be able to grow without initiating an aggressive program to build new generating resources, and we’ll keep Northwest electricity rates low,” said Council Chairman Henry Lorenzen.

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The plan also recommended programs that would pay some electricity consumers to voluntarily refrain from power use during times when power is in short supply. This could help balance out the grid without resorting to firing up new power plants.

The plan takes into account already announced closures of coal plants in Centralia, Boardman, Ore., and Nevada that help supply power to the region, said Tom Eckman, director of the council’s power division.

The plan lays out a path for reducing carbon emissions by 33 percent from historical levels, and also identifies ways to reduce carbon emissions by as much 70 percent.

The council is directed by the 1980 Northwest Power Act of 1980 to prepare a power plan for the region that also includes a fish and wildlife program for species such as salmon affected by hydropower dams.